November 8, 2012
Summer Assignment : Part 2
The Hot Zone, a true story that took place in the late 1980's, is based upon an outbreak of the Ebola virus in a monkey house located in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Reston, Virginia. The story refelects the tales of several previous outbreaks in Africa to describe clearly the potential damage such an outbreak could cause. The first appearance of an Ebola-like virus takes place in Kenya and costs the life of a French expatriate named Charles Monet. His bloody, painful death is re-told in graphic and terrifying terms. Hospital personnel treating Monet become ill as well, demonstrating the extreme danger of exposure to this disease. Throughout the first half of the book, several outbreaks and deaths are described. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rainforest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. however there is no cure. In a few days, 90% of its victims were dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic "hot virus". This dramatic story gives a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their "crashes" into the human race. The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction. As The Hot Zone represents Richard Preston's 1992 article, it explores a few filoviruses that fall under Biosafety Level 4. The danger of a Level 4 virus is that, once contracted, there is no way to treat the symptoms or cure the disease. Additionally, there are no known measures that can be taken to prevent one from getting infected. Preston covers some cases of infection and the lives that have succumbed to the viruses. He details how the victims were infected, as well as the progression of the virus in each one. He also touches on some of the unique cases that have occurred. Fear of Death is probably the most prevalent theme in The Hot Zone as it reflects the humans' fear of being...